Anthro in the news 6/24/14

  • Sunni-Shi’a war not likely

Cultural anthropologist William Beeman of the University of Minnesota wrote an article in Highbrow Magazine stating that the many factions among Sunnis and Shi’as in the Middle East will act to limit the possibility of an all-out war:

“The success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in capturing large territories in Syria and Northern Iraq, and now threatening Baghdad, has raised once again the specter of a Sunni-Shi’a war in the Middle East. Such a scenario is possible, but unlikely. That’s because Sunni and Shi’a believers throughout the world are divided into many factions living under different social conditions and with different religious, social and political agendas. These differences greatly reduce the possibility of the emergence of a coalition of either group into a single bloc opposing the other.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 6/24/14”

Anthro in the news 6/16/14

  • Mixed emotions in Brazil about the World Cup

Source: The Telegraph.

BBC News, among many other media, reported on the mixed reactions in Brazil to the launch of this year’s World Cup competition – from jubilation among some to resentment and protest among others. The BBC quoted cultural anthropologist Arlei Damo of the University of Rio Grande do Sul:

“There is a real conflict…The usual love affair with the Selecao has been undermined by many things – the protests, the realisation that few Brazilians can’t afford to watch them as they wanted to. The emotions aren’t flowing as they typically would.” Continue reading “Anthro in the news 6/16/14”

World Cup fans keeping their pants on

According to a news report from South Africa published in the Irish Times, sex workers are experiencing an economic downturn during the 2010 World Cup rather than the expected upswing. Only those working closest to the stadia are finding that business is brisk.

Some sex workers point to increased police presence, the cold weather, girls asking for too much money, and HIV risk as factors keeping punters away. One woman said that the visitors she had met so far are “boring.”

If this report is accurate, predictions in advance of the games of extra demand for sexual services and the likely massive trafficking of sex workers have not materialized. That sounds like good news to me, though I am sympathetic to sex workers who are disappointed at not making some extra money that is no doubt much needed.

Image: “P1010233” from flickr user Thomas Ormston, licensed Creative Commons.

Tweetography: FIFA, can we blow our horns?

Guest post by Graham Hough-Cornwell

The World Cup is all of six days old and already the controversy rages. Not over the best team, the most skillful player, the biggest disappointment, or the prettiest goal, but over the vuvuzela, a thin plastic horn popular at South African soccer matches and blaring by the thousands at every World Cup game so far.

The French national team, following a disappointing scoreless tie against Uruguay, blamed the instrument for their poor play. After a lackluster showing in a narrow 1-0 win over Nigeria, Argentinian star and 2010 World Player of the Year Lionel Messi claimed, “It is impossible to communicate, it’s like being deaf.”

Twitter provides the main outlet for people around the world to express their hatred (or, less often, their love) for the vuvuzela. A simple search on Twitter for “#vuvuzela” reveals thousands of tweets posted daily around the globe. Most tweets are humorous:

JonahFisher: Girl in front of me is blowing #vuvuzela and has earplugs in. Strikes me as rather unfair. #wc2010

lee_Kern: The kazoo has more grace than the Vuvuzela, and the kazoo is a f***ing stupid instrument… #vuvuzela

The complaints came as no surprise. Following public outcry over the vuvuzela during last summer’s World Cup warmup tournament in South Africa FIFA (soccer’s world governing body) President Sepp Blatter decided not to ban the horn because he did not want to “Europeanize the first African World Cup.”

Continue reading “Tweetography: FIFA, can we blow our horns?”